Tosa Inu - General Features, Temperament, Health problems

Tosa-inu face

FCI # 260, Origin: Japan, Group 2.2 Molossoid breeds.

Height: average of 24 in, Weight: 83-200 pounds

Grooming: Low, Shedding: Medium, Coat: short and dense.

Color: red, fawn, brindle, black, black and tan.

Ease of training: Medium, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 10-12 years.

Breed: The name of this breed - Tosa Inu - is composed of two words - "Tosa" - the name of the province where the dog was bred, and "Inu", which translated from Japanese means "dog." So, the Tosa Inu means "a dog of Tosa province".

The ancestors of modern Tosa were bred in Japan 900 years ago. Formed in voluntary isolation of the country from the outside world, they were of medium size, weighing up to 23 kilograms, Spitz-like dogs with the erect ears and tail, curving toward the back, looking very much like the modern Akita-Inu. According to some sources, Tosa Inu were very popular among the military class and were often used for dog fighting. The opening of borders in Japan that has occurred in 1854, the massive influx of foreigners, introducing their achievements to Japan - all this has led to the moment, when they had to meet in the ring face to face - the Japanese Tosa and the "overseas" fighting dogs. And the Tosa Inu, which stood out among all the Japanese fighting dog with his unsurpassed qualities found himself in an explicit loss compared with the Western opponents, at least because of that fact, that their weight was almost twice bigger, than the weight of Tosa. To correct the situation and improve the quality of their own fighting dogs the Japanese breeders crossed Tosa Inu first with the Bulldog, and then gradually began to add the blood of Bloodhounds, Mastiffs, Bull Terriers, Pointers, Great Danes, and finally, Saint Bernards. As a result of this multi-stage crossing there was born the modern Tosa Inu, as we know him today.

Tosa Inu dog breeds

The Second World War had a serious influence on the number of Tosa Inu dogs in Japan. Only thanks to the unprecedented actions of some breeders, that were hiding their dogs in the mountains, the Japanese were able to preserve the best representatives of the breed. Now Tosa is a rare dog, both in Japan and abroad. The Japanese rarely sell Tosa Inu puppies abroad, preferring to keep their national treasure with them. Some pups, however, were taken out of the country and became the founders of European, American and Korean lines of Tosa Inu.

General Features: Tosa Inu is a large dog, that has a massive body. There are three types of Tosa: lightweight - up to 50 kilograms, medium - 50-70 kilograms, and heavy, weighing more than 70 kilograms. The head of Tosa Inu is large with a broad skull (with the females head is smaller than with the males and looks more feminine). Tosa Inu has a strong and powerful jaws, his teeth must meet scissor bite. Eyes of Tosa are dark, small, usually with calm and dignified expression. The muzzle is the same color as the body, and it also can be black - the so-called mask covering the nose and sometimes the area around the eyes. Ears are of medium size, V - shaped, pendant.

Straight back, muscular stomach and broad chest demonstrate that the Tosa Inu is not a fan of lying on the sofa for hours, rather he is the athlete that puts love for exercises above anything else. The forelimbs of Tosa Inu are straight, powerful, of medium length. Hind legs are very well muscled. Tosa Inu has a short dense coat. Color of a coat can be brindle, fawn, red, black or black and tan.

How can you determine that the Tosa Inu does not comply the breed standard? Too elongated body, caved back, bad angulations in the hock joints, weak or raised up hips, weak and short legs, not parallel toes, narrow chest. All these moments are very important, when you are choosing a Tosa Inu puppy. Of course, the overall impression of a dog could be formed only when Tosa reaches the age of 12-18 months, and sometimes even later. However, the caved back is unlikely to become smooth, and a narrow chest will not become broad. Tosa Inu puppy should already carry those qualities, which form the basis of the breed. Over time, these qualities must be developed and strengthened, so that eventually a small teddy bear will one day turn into a graceful creature, known as the Tosa Inu.

Temperament: After 1854 Japan began an active breeding work to improve the fighting qualities of their local breed - Tosa Inu. Tosa was crossed with several European breeds, among whom were the Bulldogs, Great Danes, Mastiffs, St. Bernards, and others. Infusion of new blood has promoted a new exterior of the dog, stepped up the fighting qualities of Tosa Inu, but the Japanese breeders managed to keep unchanged the spirit of this dog, it's character, which for many centuries of development, absorbed the culture and history of Japan, style of life and attitude of it's inhabitants. Military government (or shogunate) subordinating all aspects of life to the principles of strict obedience, constant internecine wars between tribal aristocracy, samurai or military class, with their code of honor, boundless devotion to the master and readiness at any moment to give him his life - here briefly are those factors that affected the development of the Tosa Inu's nature. The dog is a mirror of a man, and Tosa Inu is a mirror of a Japanese man. Noble, proud, loyal, courageous, enduring pain bravely - this dog has become an example for the weak, who learned from her strength.

Tosa Inu breed photo

Tosa Inu is a fighting dog, and normally the fighting dogs are described as leading the fight without a rituals, mortifying or crippling the enemy at any cost. They point out the reduction of the hierarchy not only to the dogs, but to people as well. However, all written above is not about Tosa Inu. For Tosa winning does not mean to kill the opponent, but to assert the supremacy by putting the enemy to lay, forcing him to surrender. What other dog is able to stop fighting, pausing the battle on the command of the coach? If Tosa Inu "pulls up the blood", one should get worried - if everything is fine with this Tosa and if everything is fine with his owner's psyche. After all, Tosa Inu fighting in the ring is a true example of grace and strength, like sumo wrestlers, this dog seeks to overcome his opponent not by torment the flesh, but by deliberate combinations of maneuvers, by his power and smartness.

Tosa Inu is a Japanese Mastiff, molossoid. Like any molosser type dog, Tosa Inu shows a pronounced territoriality, clearly seen independence and purposefulness. You can read in many sources, that the block of aggressiveness to people can be easily removed in most of molossoid breeds. But it is not about Tosa Inu. For something like this to happen there should be an extraordinary situation, such as a physical threat to the owner, a potential threat to the child, the threat of their own pups from a stranger. In fact, the cat represents a bigger threat for the owner and his family than a purebred Tosa Inu, because this brave soldier beside "his" family turns into a soft and gentle creature, waiting kindness and care from people, capable of nursing young children, at the same time defending "his" territory and "his" family members from strangers. As to the hierarchy, then into the mouth of the Tosa Inu you can put the phrase: "Master! Your children are my children, your friends are my friends, your guests are my guests! "

The unique combination in one dog: power and sensitivity, pride and meaningful obedience to the owners commands, courage and tenderness, fearlessness and caring - that's what makes the Tosa Inu unique among all dogs.

Tosa Inu will perfectly fit both: the city apartment and the private house. This dog performs the protection of owner's life and his properties very well. To maintain a good physical shape Tosa Inu requires frequent walks. With the proper upbringing and education Tosa is behaving very well in the house, this dog is not spoiling furniture and the household goods.

Care for Tosa Inu is very easy - it does not require any specific knowledge - just clean your dog with the special brush at least once a week and bathe the animal when it is necessary. During the summer heat you can give your dog a chance to frolic in the water, so that the animal did not get a heat stroke. Tosa Inu loves to walk - the more time this dog is spending with the owner, the stronger will be the emotional connection between them. Specialized areas for dogs will help to establish and maintain a good physical shape, preventing the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases, which are the scourge of the breed.

Tosa Inu is not getting along well with the other dogs, because this dog was bred specifically for dog fighting, so the aggression and hostility to his own kind is in his blood. Tosa normally makes a fine family dog, but still it is not recommended to live a small kids with Tosa Inu alone without an adult supervision. This dog is able to become an impeccable personal guard, but for Tosa not to pose a threat to the society, the animal must be trained by an experienced dog expert. Ideally, if a dog of this breed will be the only pet in the family.

Health problems: Many Tosa Inu are prone to bloat, so it is better to feed this dogs 2-3 small meals a day, than one large.

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